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I’m getting used to this planet and to this curious human culture which is as cheerfully enthusiastic as it it cheerfully cruel. I never cease to marvel at the newspapers. In my life I’ve seen one million pictures of a duck that has adopted a kitten, or a cat that has adopted a duckling, or a sow and a puppy, a mare and a muskrat. And for the one millionth time I’m fascinated. I wish I lived near them, in Corpus Christi or Damariscotta; I wish I had the wonderful pair before me, mooning about the yard. It’s all beginning to smack of home. The winter pictures that come in over the wire from every spot on the continent are getting to be as familiar as my own hearth. I wait for the annual aerial photograph of an enterprising fellow who has stamped in the snow a giant valentine for his girl. Here’s the annual chickadee-trying-to-drink-from-a-frozen-birdbath picture, captioned, ‘Sorry, Wait Till Spring,’ and the shot of an utterly bundled child crying piteously on a sled at the top of a snowy hill, labeled, ‘Needs a Push.’ How can an old world be so innocent?

Annie Dillard in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Song: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by Rufus Wainwright feat. Sharon Van Etten

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